But amid all the noise of an intensive care unit, he heard something clink off the floor the other day. He looked over and saw his daughter's bracelet lying by her bed.
"That's kind of weird," Schwartz said. He picked up the bracelet to slide it back on.
"Oh my gosh, her wrist is so thin," he thought. "It caught me off guard."
Mandi Schwartz had spent so much time in bed, he hadn't really noticed how thin she'd become. Chemotherapy makes for a great diet, but it's hardly worth the side effects.
"Dad, I just want to get better," Mandi said.
She just got a little closer to that goal. The Yale hockey player found out this week that her leukemia is in remission. Now plans can be made for Mandi to travel from her Saskatchewan home to Seattle for a stem-cell transplant.
The good news comes with an asterisk, however. There's less time to find an ideal donor than there would have been if Mandi required more chemotherapy. So the burgeoning campaign really needs to burgeon up a hero.
"Now more than ever," Rick said, "we need to move quicker."
Mandi's plight has evolved into a crusade at Yale and a national cause in Canada. There have been registration drives around the country and an online campaign. The goal is to sign up expectant mothers willing to donate their baby's umbilical-cord blood.
The cord is typically discarded at birth, but it could contain the stem cells that save Mandi's life. Her Russian-Ukrainian-German heritage has made it hard to find a suitable donor.
An adult donor has been found in Germany, but that person is a 9-out-of-10 DNA match. That may sound pretty good, but even one mismatched cell could cause Mandi's body to reject the transplant.
So the search has been on for a 10-out-of-10 adult match or a little savior still in the womb. Stem cells from an umbilical cord are more adaptable than those from an adult donor. Of the women who've registered the past couple of weeks, about 100 are considered viable candidates based on their heritage. Dr. Tedd Collins, a Yale immunologist who's leading the campaign, said another 100 candidates are needed.
Rick Schwartz said his family has been gratefully amazed at all the attention. Mandi was a candidate for Canada's under-22 hockey team. Her 17-year-old brother, Jaden, might be a first-round pick in the upcoming NHL draft.
"And we got some more good news," Rick said.
Jaden just got invited to try out for Canada's junior team. The announcement was on the Hockey Canada website. It wasn't as prominent as a story about Mandi accompanied by a picture of her smiling and wearing a blue stocking cap.
"She's just a quiet person," Rick said. "She doesn't really want any attention."
To say it's been a rough few months would be like saying it's chilly in Saskatchewan during the winter. Mandi was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. It went into remission and she returned to Yale, but the cancer returned late last year.
She was scheduled for a five-day chemotherapy treatment last month, but she only made it through four before coming down with pneumonia. That led to a stint in the ICU and a lot of mystery heading into this week.
A biopsy would reveal whether that last uncompleted chemotherapy treatment was enough to halt the cancer. A patient must be in remission before a transplant can take place.
"We were prepared for her to need more chemotherapy," Rick said. "What this does is give us hope, and it's lifted Mandi's spirits."
She has dropped from 143 pounds to 117 the past few weeks. Now she'll be home through the weekend, then re-enter the hospital next week for a less intensive round of chemo to ensure the remission holds.
"You don't want to give her too much chemotherapy," Rick said. "That's the plus."
"Are we looking at 30 days or 40 days or 20 days?" Rick said.
The clock is ticking louder than ever.